We know for certain that the President’s new Pentagon chief is in favor of at least the most alarming of these – the idea of opening direct negotiations with Iran in the interest of facilitating a “regional approach” to the conflict in Iraq. His enthusiasm for this idea goes back at least to 2004 when he co-chaired with Zbigniew Bzrezinski a task force of the Council on Foreign Relations that endorsed “engaging” Iran.
It can only be hoped that at least some Senators will explore this idea with Mr. Gates. Sadly, most of them seem more interested in getting Mr. Rumsfeld out the door than assuring his relief is up to the job. Still, they have an obligation to examine with care why the nominee thinks the United States can usefully negotiate with a regime like that of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad given the latter’s public embrace of the following positions:
This sampler of the Iranian president’s vitriol is hardly exhaustive. But it is illustrative of an inescapable fact: We are confronting an Iranian regime that is determined to destroy this country and other freedom-loving peoples. It is one thing if Jim Baker and his unaccountable gang have convinced themselves and irresponsible politicians on both sides of the aisle that we must “be willing to negotiate with our enemies” in order to secure the political fig leaf needed to obscure our surrender in Iraq.
It is an altogether different thing, however, for the President of the United States to embrace such an idea. If the President is, indeed, determined not to surrender in Iraq and, thereby, to avoid inexorably setting in train dire repercussions worldwide, Mr. Bush had better make sure that the man to whom he is entrusting his key national security portfolio, Bob Gates, will follow his direction – not that of Jim Baker.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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